Friday, July 31, 2015

SAQA Dream Collection #2: Brownian Motion

Earlier today I shared my first "SAQA Dream Collection" of quilts from the annual SAQA auction.  It's so hard to narrow down which to choose!  Today I was inspired by Dianne Firth's piece-  I love the transparency in her work and it made me think of atoms and molecules spinning in space.  Of course real Brownian motion isn't symmetrical, but the thought jumped out at me!  Click each one for a larger view and to go to the auction webpage.

Molecules and Molecules

There are so many great quilts in the auction:  click here to see them all!

SAQA Dream Collection #1: Fly Away Home

The annual SAQA auction is coming up starting in September and they always invite people to put together "dream collections".  I've put together a couple (the second one will be in the next post).  I'm a budding birder, and Judith Ahlborn's piece inspired me to put together this collection full of feathered friends.  It's so amazing to see the variety of work of so many SAQA artists all in one place. Click each one to go make it bigger and open up the auction page.

Fly Away Home

All the auction quilts can be viewed here, there are so so many fabulous ones, it's really fun to go look through them all!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Summer Donation Quilts

A while back I was in a scrap busting mood so I pieced about 6 or 7 baby-to-lap sized quilt tops and backs.  It didn't seem to make too much of a dent in my scraps but I did get to use up a bunch of fabrics that I'd inherited from others and that I probably wasn't going to use for anything else.  Two weekends ago (while my big quilt was trying to soak out the blue dye), I got my act together and quilted a couple of them.

On this one, the center block is pieced out of little triangles I had left over from another baby quilt.

I love the scraps of fall-scarecrow-tree panel in this next one.

This third one was just random scrappy squares, and I quilted it a while back but it had been sitting on my shelf since then.

I'm going to take all three of these to infant crisis services where hopefully they can be given to babies and kids who need them.  I've been frustrated with my big project lately, so it was really nice to finish some cute things and feel productive!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cotton Robin

I've always wanted to participate in a round robin swap so this year when I saw the call for Julie's Cotton Robin, I signed up right away.  We each made a center block and then Julie sent them to two additional participants to add borders and one final participant who quilted and bound it.  It was super fun to work on other people's pieces, and now that we're all finished I can share mine.

I love it!  Thanks so much to the ladies who worked on it.  My center block was improv-pieced gold and pink, and the lovely pieced borders complement it very well.  I feel like it's pink and gold (my sparkly 4-yr old shining through) but with a more grown up feel.

Here it is on my wall of minis, I love the way they look up there!

Thanks so much to Julie for hosting and organizing, I know it's a ton of work.  I definitely recommend that you click over to her Cotton Robin blog to see all the other fabulous minis from this round.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The eyes have it!

I finished quilting my big dragon tile quilt over the weekend and soaked it to remove the blue marking pen.  Unfortunately, one of the blue fabrics in it bled all over one of the two white tile backgrounds, and I was horrified.  I followed Vicki Welsh's excellent tutorial (thanks!!) which primarily involves soaking in soapy hot hot hot hot water for many many hours.  My water kept turning blue so I guess that was good, but constantly boiling water and pouring it in the bathtub got exhausting. Plain hot water from the tap helped too, but I thought the boiling would be better.   After about 22 hours of soaking, the blue hadn't completely come out but it had evenly and lightly stained all of the white background.  I was really surprised that one of the two white background fabrics (both cotton!) just sucked up the blue and the other one is as white as ever.  In any case, now my tiles are white and pale blue and that's just good enough.  Unfortunately all that soaking made some of my other fabrics wear weirdly and the blue dye also backstained some of my gold fabrics which now look very dingy, but I'm just ready to be done with this quilt.  Incidentally, I didn't take any pictures of the blue/white but if you look at the first picture below you can see a little of the fabric that stayed white on the left and the one that sucked up all the blue dye on the right.

I blocked it, squared it up, sewed on the facing strips and then decided I should stitch the beaded dragon eyes on before flipping the facing strips around.  So here for your consideration are several different beaded eye options:

I started out with a red bead on a black sequin, but I thought that made my dragon look too mean.

I'm now trying to decide between the next four:

1. Gold eye on black sequin.

2. Gold eye on black sequin with short green beaded eyebrow.

3. Gold eye on black sequin with long green beaded eyebrow.

4. Black bead on black sequin with pink accent bead.

Which is your favorite?  Other suggestions?  I always appreciate the input!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Back for the moment

It's been a full month since I've posted here, and luckily three weeks of that time was a lovely vacation with Mike in Alaska.  It was a really wonderful trip- definitely relaxing and beautiful.  I'd love to go back.

Since getting home things have been crazy in both expected and unexpected ways. This week has been full of outside obligations, but I had a little time last week to work on my Peace quilt before heading to my parent's for the 4th of July holiday weekend.

I have a few things to post and share when I can get organized enough to take pictures, but at the moment it feels just like trying to keep my head above water.  So for today I'll leave you with a snapshot of my quilting from last week.

I hope everyone had a great Independence Day and that you're staying cool and dry this summer!  In keeping with the 4th of July feeling, here's one of my pictures from Alaska.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Progress on the tiling piece

It's been a while since I updated on the piece I'm currently working on.  In contrast to the QN piece which feels very last year (in my weird brain), this piece feels very immediate (and currently irritating since I'm struggling with monofilament quilting).  In case you don't remember I started with these tiles I designed while in a workshop with Jenny Bowker.

I decided to incorporate them into a piece to fit into my ongoing liturgical series.  In addition, the timing was right to try to finish it in time for the current open call for entry for a quilt with a quote or saying on it.  The show is one of the  IQF ones this year (I think it's actually called "Just Sayin").  I decided to feature the text from the peace; the time in a traditional Catholic or Episcopalian service (maybe others too?) when congregants greet one another.  The actual words in our prayer book are "The peace of the Lord be always with you" and people respond "and also with you".  That was too many words to fit in my shape though, so I went with the more common greeting between people- "Peace be with you.  And also with you".  Inspired by a gorgeous piece of Islamic art/tile work/illumination, I decided to fit my words into a round piece to go in front of the tiles.

Here is my paper pattern as I was drawing all my letters into the round shape.  It was tricky to get them to angle properly and fit right.  I'm not 100% pleased and a typographer or calligrapher probably would have done much better, but it was the best I could do!

And of course I then cut the letters out of four different colors of gold fabric (because you always need more sparkle).

Here they are all fused down.  In case it's completely illegible, it reads "Peace be with you" around the outside and "and also with you" around the inside.

Then for the tile borders I decided to make myself crazy and foundation pieced this chevron pattern.  All these fabrics are different golds (about 10 I think) all different weights and textures, all ravelly and all a giant mess, but I love the way it turned out.

Here it is so you can see more or less the main composition.  There is now a big (6-8") solid maroon border that goes around the whole thing.

I decided to bind the edges of the gold pieced border and the round part since there were a bunch of raw edges.  The gold border especially was way to thick to turn, but I really wanted it to be on top.  I also couched sparkly razzle dazzle thread aroudn all the letters and I hope that makes them a bit easier to read.

Linking up with Nina-Marie as always!  Mike and I are leaving for Alaska on Saturday, keep your fingers crossed we don't get caught in a tide or eaten by a bear.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Pink Polka Dot Dress and Opening Reception

I was so lucky that my mom came with me to QN15- we have such a great time together and wound up making a mini-trip of it.  Before we went, I sewed up a new dress to wear to the opening reception, and of course it's pink.  I fell in love with this pink polka dot fabric a while back and made this dress based on a shirt pattern I'd made and liked previously.

The best thing about the opening was getting to meet so many fabulous artists.  64 of the accepted ~85 artists were at the opening and we had lots of opportunity to talk with each other.  Kathleen Dawson, the QN director, put pictures of all our quilts on our name tags.  It was one of those great ideas that really made a difference when we were all milling around, since it made it easy to put an artist face with a particular quilt and gave us someplace to start a conversation.  I'm so nervous meeting new people, especially people whose work I've admired from afar for a long time, but everyone was super friendly and open.  I spent a fair amount of time scurrying around getting the other artists to sign my show catalog- almost like yearbooks in high school.   It was especially neat to hear each artist talk about his/her piece, both from a technical and artistic standpoint.  Diedre Adams, who had a beautiful piece in the show, kindly took pictures of most of the artists and their pieces which she shared on her blog.  Definitely worth checking out if you'd like to see more of the work.  My friend Barb drove up from St. Louis to see the show as well, and it was great fun to see her.

I'm generally not one for selfies, but I love taking selfies with my mom.

You can see in the next one what a lovely job the Dairy Barn did hanging my piece so you can see the shadows behind it.

On the last day we went to Hocking Hills State Park and took a nice hike.  Even though we weren't on the most popular paths, since it was Memorial Day weekend there were hordes of people everywhere.  It reminded me of the country around Sewanee where I went to school, and was really a lovely state park.  The weather was gorgeous and made a nice break from home where we have had non-stop flooding rains and other severe weather.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Peering Out of the Darkness: Quilt National 2015

My mom and I just got back from the opening of Quilt National 15 at the Dairy Barn Arts Center in Athens OH, and it was a really wonderful trip for so many reasons.  Later in the week I'll share some more pictures of the opening and our trip, but today I want to focus on the piece I have in the show.  I'm so excited to have been a part of such a wonderful exhibit and so happy to finally be able to share my piece here.  The entries were due last September, so I was actually working on this last summer. In my brain it feels like old work, and I've been really anxious to share it.  One of the best parts of the opening was that each artist was given two minutes to speak about his or her piece, and I think the recordings/videos from that are going to be on youtube.  If they get posted I'll share the links.

This piece had been brewing in my head for a long time, and I was pleased to finally be able to make it.  I talked about the process a fair amount here, and I mostly just want to share the final pictures now.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015 50" H x 42" W
Artist Statement: This wintry night scene is designed to capture the relationship between us, standing alone in the darkness, and the piercing lightness of the world outside.

I wanted to explore the ideas of ambiguousness and of taking away, of suggesting. The feelings of the woman staring out the window are up to you- is she hopeful? Sad? Desperate? Inspired? I wanted her expression to be sufficiently unclear that the interpretation reflected the feelings and situation of the viewer rather than the artist.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

The piece started from completely white fabric which was painted (with all different colors of mostly latex housepaint, but also screen printing paint and shiva paintsticks), cut, and quilted.  For me, the dual shadows--those projected within the piece, ( the bottom section) and those projected behind the piece (i.e. when it is hung away from the wall) are a critical part of the composition.  I was really pleased with the way it was hung in the Dairy Barn and will show some more pictures of it hanging later in the week.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

There are many thread colors throughout the piece, including incorporation of metallic threads, so that from afar it looks very grey and muted but up close there is lots of variation.

Peering Out of the Darkness, Shannon Conley, 2015, detail

I'm linking up to Nina-Marie's as always!